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trees close to the house, patio cracking...

Posted by jojomojo 6a NW NM (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 7, 14 at 15:01

I have 5 trees in my front yard and another at the corner of my house. I'm a little concerned that they are too close. I'm not really familiar with their growth habits (roots mainly), and two I'm not even sure what they are.

The first tree that concerns me is one I love (very beautiful shape to it, produces lots of good compost material). It is some sort of fruit tree. I don't think its edible though. My dad said it was a type of cherry. I'll upload a picture below (taken just when it was starting to leaf out, has some old fruits still hanging on). This tree is about 15'-20' tall and about 10' from the house right next to the patio edge. The roots have already lifted & cracked the patio to the house. This is the same tree that is at the corner of the house (maybe 5' away).

The next is an apple tree, about 15' - 20' as well (fruit is small, sour, not palatable, crabapple? probably planted to for pollination for the other 3 apples). It is planted about 10' from the house, 5' from the patio. The concrete isn't cracked, but it is lifted and water runs towards the house (luckily its very dry here and water pooling there is not a huge problem). I wouldn't be surprised if its unlevel because of shoddy work though.

The last one that concerns me is a very large cottonwood that is about 30' from the house. It has sent up suckers about 10' from the house. Should I worry about this?

The other two trees in the yard I believe are a type of locust (black locust I think). I really want to keep these, but I'm not familiar how aggressive their roots can be. The closest one is maybe 20' from the house (10' from the patio).

Luckily we don't have any plumbing in the front yard to worry about, but I do want to fix the patio.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: trees close to the house, patio cracking...

how about pix of the cracks.. and the patio ....

i am no wizard on Id.. but that looks like a crabapple ...

cottonwood are horrible.. wouldnt have one within 100 feet of my house ...

we need full IDs on all the trees... might have to wait until they leaf out ...

are we to presume the patio itself was properly designed and built .... i mean.. if someone just skim-coated dirt.. ..etc

ken


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RE: trees close to the house, patio cracking...

No, we can't presume the patio itself was properly designed ;) I think the previous owner fancied himself the jack of all trades. The same thing has happened to the patio in the backyard which also is right up next to a large tree (IDing that tree will definitely have to wait until it leafs out). The concrete is about 3.5" thick, have no idea what was done underneath it though.

I'll attach a photo I just took so my descriptions make more sense. The arrows going left to right are pointing to the apple, cottonwood not mentioned before (dead, needs to come down this summer), locust, purple leaf tree posted above, and between them a very tiny arrow pointing to a very tiny locust, and the healthy cottonwood is last (which suckered a little tree near the apple).

The second purple leaf tree is not in this same area. They both sucker at the crown like mad.

I will admit I'm inexperienced and I've never been in the position to ID trees or choose what to plant and have never really paid any attention until now. I know this isn't the best time to ask anyone to help ID them. Its just this area is what I am going to focus on getting landscaped this summer and I've been thinking about it a lot. I also need to get someone out to remove that dead cottonwood, so it'll be nice to have an idea of whats going on in my yard before I do :) Maybe I'll just have to come back to this once they leaf out.


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RE: trees close to the house, patio cracking...

If it makes you feel better, concrete patios and driveways have a life expectancy. They do not last forever and repaving them is just a joy of owning a home. Mine by the big oak is in as good a shape as it is 100 feet away in the clear.

The tree near the crack does look a little guilty but am I picking up a slope there? My front porch is moving down and away from my home at a rate of an inch every fifty years if I had to guess.


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RE: trees close to the house, patio cracking...

Our land is quite flat. I think the only slope is in the concrete (and only on this end where the trees are, on the other end the water doesn't run towards the house at all). That could still just be due to shoddy work though. I'm afraid the roots of these trees might undo any repairs.

Ken - can I ask why you wouldn't have cottonwood within 100' of your house? Same reason, invasive roots?


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RE: trees close to the house, patio cracking...

I think the only tree you have to worry about is the tree that is right on the edge of the patio, at the point the crack intersects the edge. It looks like there is a transition in the patio from a straight edge to a curve. Concrete transition can cause cracks with out any other help.

It it were me, and the patio was still providing the sevice intended, I believe I would ignore it and pretend it did not exist.

It you have a lot of rolling stock you use on the patio, I may consider filling with some type of latex, or silicon product.


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RE: trees close to the house, patio cracking...

I think your trees near the house are all crab apples. They won't get big enough to really present a danger of falling limbs crushing the house and i wouldn't think their roots would damage your foundation. The one by the patio and the crack looks kind of suspicious but I would expect there is something else going on besides roots.

The cottonwoods are shaped like the cottonless cottonwoods. Hideous trees in my mind. They seem a lot like Lombardy Poplars. Relatively short life expectancy, then limbs start to die and break off or rot and fail in the wind. Presents a falling danger to the house or anything else within reach including you if you are underneath when a limb fails.

I much prefer the native cottonwoods as they form huge, beautiful spreading trees. They may be more prone to breakage than oaks, but are more resilient than ash trees to breakage in my climate and hardier. The thing with native cottonwoods is that there are males and females. If you don't want the cotton, you have to plant only male trees and you can't really tell the males from the females until they get big enough to bloom and you find them producing cotton. Maybe you could identify males with a microscope or DNA test which is probably more work than it is worth. Or, you could just plant twice as many cottonwoods as you want, filling in the space better while small, and when they get big enough to start blooming in 5 or 6 years, cut out the females. Just don't plant them real close to the house because they get big and spread their limbs.


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RE: trees close to the house, patio cracking...

i would ... unlimited budget aside... lol ...

remove everything around the patio .... who cares what it is ...

then put in some posts ... and build a deck right over the concrete ... which would be a lot cheaper than paying to remove it.. plus vermin wouldnt be able to dig under such ...

the cottonwoods i was thinking of.. are extremely fast growing.. and when they go to seed .. they are in my neighborhood.. i have 2 weeks of lung choking seed distribution.. followed by hundreds of seedlings ...

and being fast growing.. they get extremely large ... and are somewhat weak wooded... so when that once in a decade storm rolls thru.. they tend to drop HUGE broken pieces.. from very high up ...

since they easily get 60 to 80 feet tall ... that means gravity causes things under them.. to get crushed... hence.. the 100 feet ...

i would not be concerned with the outlying trees.. at this time ... curiosity.. yes ... concern .. no ...

what i dont understand from your posts ... is what you real focus is here ... whether its the patio ... or the plants ... if its the patio ... then see my idea above .... if it is patio ... its like you are doing a kitchen remake ... but worrying about the old kitchen table ... i say.. throw it out with the old sink .. do the kitchen.. then get a new table ...

following that analogy.. focus on the patio.... and plant new plants and trees after ....

good luck!!!!

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: i am sure.. they arent all cottonwood pix ...


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RE: trees close to the house, patio cracking...

Thanks everyone. My real focus is just to understand the trees I have better and potential risk of aggressive roots. It's good to hear fruit trees typically don't have aggressive roots. We haven't been here long, so I don't know if this patio has been this way for years or if the concrete is still cracking/moving. I know enough to know that roots can cause problems, but not enough to recognize it ;)

It was also good to get some ideas on what that purple leafed tree is!


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RE: trees close to the house, patio cracking...

Aggressive roots can get into septic, irrigation or sewer lines, and wreak havoc! Worse is what they can do if your home is built on a slab.

I think it's pretty general to think all fruit trees don't have invasive roots. Figs AKA Ficus Carica have extensively invasive root systems and should not be planted near patios or concrete slabs.

Your cherry tree or whatever, is planted too close to your patio, and it, or the patio needs to go. You could just build a step up deck over the patio, and all kinds of critters could hide under there, but there would be no cracks and you could keep your tree.

Just saying..........


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